Denard Robinson's Play in the Spring Game

Submitted by Seth on April 17th, 2011 at 2:15 PM

This thread used to be the "go easy on Denard" post. I'm taking it over because some of the responses and discussions were on a level far above that of the argumentative original post that started with "Give me a break," ended with "get a grip" and in between had a laughable amount of spelling and grammatical errors. Please continue sharing your thoughts, remaining respectful to those who may disagree with you.

OP's main points enhanced and summarized thusly:

  1. Getting a hand on Denard counts as a tackle in the Spring Game, but Big Ten linebackers get no points for touching The Great Denard with one hand, except points for touching pure awesome amirite?
  2. The accuracy was off but other than the one interception his reads were good.
  3. Denard's rushing stats will come down when he's no longer the feature back, but that's a good thing so long as his legs and arm are opening up the running back running game.
  4. In the Spring Game, you're supposed to see the defense look better than the offense (Ed-M: why?)




April 16th, 2011 at 4:23 PM ^

Be happy that the defense looked like they sorta kinda knew what was going on. But there is no need to start frreaking out that Denard is ruined because he struggled in the 15th practice of the year. It's gonna be ok.


April 16th, 2011 at 4:29 PM ^

It was a really ugly game by both QBs.  It's only the spring game, but the game has been a pretty good bellweather for what's going to happen in the regular season lately.  I hope that's not the case today.

Defensive line was maybe the most impressive unit of the day.  Everyone wanted to see how Campbell would do today.  From what I could see, he was holding his ground pretty good against Molk, Omameh, and Barnum.


April 16th, 2011 at 4:36 PM ^

Spring games for the past few years have been 1's v. 2's.  I have seen four different practices and the spring scrimmage last weekend.  The offense showed much more a week ago then they did today.  The number of plays was also way down today as compared with last week.  The #1 defense has looked much better two straight weekends.  I am generally excited about their improvement, especially since VB, Demens, Woolfolk, and Floyd aren't playing.  I said last week Carvin Johnson has looked better in every practice and he had another good day.  Relax on the offense and understand THIS staff is getting it done in practice.  They will be better!


April 16th, 2011 at 4:39 PM ^

...but Campbell was not good.    He was single blocked every play and never made any impact.   Best case right now is that he can clog the middle up on running plays.  He won't be on the field in passing situations.

He hustled and I appreciated his hard work...but he has no explosion.  


April 16th, 2011 at 10:06 PM ^

from our seats on several different plays, and he was pushed back often by the O-line. That does not mean death or anything else, every coach has said BWC has talent but needs consistency and more work, so I'm not pronouncing anything about his potential this year. But based upon this practice only, he needs more work. Like a lot of our guys do.


April 17th, 2011 at 12:32 AM ^

I didn't see him blown back or on the ground at all.  I didn't look for him on every play, but when I saw him, he seemed to be doing OK.  On running plays, he was on the offense's side of the line of scrimmage more than a few times.  On passing plays -- you're right.  He's worthless unless he can knock balls down.  Maybe my standards are low because all of the reports about him the past few years make him out to be a guy who stands straight up and gets knocked over by an eight year old girl because she has leverage. 


April 16th, 2011 at 4:39 PM ^

People are down on the way that Borges and Hoke are using Denard.  It's a big difference.  It would be like saying people were down on Tom Brady if Belichick started using him primarily as a running QB.

Also: Who says that the defense should look better than the offense in spring ball?  Particularly when you are returning almost all of the starters from a top tier offense and when you had one of the worst defenses in the nation the previous year.


April 16th, 2011 at 4:50 PM ^

Who says that the defense should look better than the offense in spring ball?

Almost any coach out there.  As a rule, it takes a little longer to install a new offensive scheme than a new defensive scheme.  For the offensive line to play well, all five guys need to be on the same page.  It's pretty rare to see that happen in spring ball.  Denard wasn't very sharp today, but a lot of that goes on the OL for not giving him time in the pocket.  He had to throw some of those passes earlier than he wanted to.


April 16th, 2011 at 5:05 PM ^

But my point is that even with the offense installing new stuff and the defense maybe being a bit ahead of them as far as that goes... we're still talking about the offensive players from last year vs the defensive players from last year.  I more meant who thought that the Michigan defense should be better than the Michigan offense in spring ball?


April 16th, 2011 at 5:32 PM ^

talent wasn't the biggest issue with last year's D, it was mostly the basics:  angles, tackling, block shedding,  gap control.   If you listen to Mattison that is what he has focused most of his coaching on.  So we should expect a large improvement because the kids are getting the proper coaching,  


April 16th, 2011 at 11:35 PM ^

Talent was a huge issue too.  I mean, look at who was playing in the secondary.  Look at how, for most of the season, what would have been our top 2 corners were out with an injury. 

I obviously expect a giant leap forward from last year on defense, but that's not saying much.

NOLA Wolverine

April 17th, 2011 at 2:12 PM ^

Fundamentals is the difference between Clemson and TCU, not between being ranked in the "might as well not be out there" category and dominating an offensive unit that returns 10 players and ranked 8th last year in yards gained. I'm sorry, but despite how great of kids Vinopal and Kovacs may be, they're not playing for anybody but Michigan - Rich Rod era Michigan - and below. Not to mention all of the kids that played way too early. Carvin, Avery, and Cullen never see the field that early in their careers if there wasn't a major lack of talent. 


April 16th, 2011 at 5:03 PM ^

I couldn't be less down on DR.  He's proven, and I don't know that there's a single offensive player in the country I'd rather have on my team.

I'm down, way down, on taking the B10 Offensive Player 'o the year and trying to make him something he's not.

I'm even further down on the most painfully senseless football-related thing I've heard in the past few years on this board or from the U-M program:  Denard taking snaps from under center, dropping back 7 steps, and learning to be a pocket passer in a pro style system will "prepare him for the next level".  

Seriously, note to Coach Borges:  you inherited a Heisman candidate at the QB position, and your only job is to prepare him for this level.  You have zero, less than zero, responsibility to prepare him for the next level. 

To paraphrase from Al Pacino to Kevin Spacey in Glengarry Glen Ross:

"Your job is to help Denard, not to fuck him up.  Is that clear to you?"

Anyway, I see we just got RJS, so today is a very good day.  And like I said in the open thread, the D looks like an adult is in charge of it.  



April 17th, 2011 at 5:16 PM ^

Three things:

1.) new staff with little to no experience running a spread scheme... they are pro-style... that's what they know... that's what they coach. I'd say they are being mighty acommodating to tailor some of their game plan to what Denard knows and is more comfortable with.

2.) Denard stayed b/c of his trust in the staff to prepare him for what he needs to play at the next level. If he wants to be the same guy he was last year, he might as well just wait for Rodriguez to land his next job and transfer there (yeah... pointless and not happening).

3.) Stop acting like this is August 20-something and we're playing our first game next saturday. This is fucking spring ball. The staff and players have had 15 practices together. Do you really think Borges' plan should have been to baby Denard and the offense into the transition running quasi-spread stuff that neither is 100% comfortable with? Would you really spend your practice time making the guys look good for a fucking spring game in the rain with 57 people in attendance? No... you throw out what it is you intend to do and start familiarizing your guys with it, even if it looks ugly. I'm not saying we're going to be a well-oiled machine by game 1, but seriously, it's pretty ridiculous to be already criticizing the deployment of Denard.

Sextus Empiricus

April 17th, 2011 at 6:54 PM ^

worked up about it.

What would be even sillier would be for DR to transfer before he went through Spring ball given the timing of the coaching change.  He could definitely do better in a spread scheme without adjustments?   That would serve his NFL aspirations ... perhaps ... better.  I said it.

Yes Borges brings what he brings - but DR is the B1G POY - it's on Borges to make that work regardless of system.  RR had the major fault of making pro style QBs run the spread.  Turnaround is fair play.  Given the relative trade off in talent (2008 vs 2011 @ QB) Borges has an even greater expectation to succeed.  


April 16th, 2011 at 4:35 PM ^

The O will be modified to Denard's strengths by 9/3. This is what's installed as of today, and it's all new to both QBs. Trust me he'll run more.

Coach Kyle

April 16th, 2011 at 4:36 PM ^

DR looked awful. So did DG.

However, I have no doubt it'll get better. We're going to see a lot more roll outs and bootlegs in the real game because they're going to take advantage of their running abilities, and that's going to get us very nice match ups. Now... there were quite a few QB problems today... I saw Denard display some pretty bad footwork when facing the blitz, when giving playaction fakes, and audibles. He'll get there though. He's got the right attitude and work ethic, and we're like 3 weeks into this. That's hardly an indicator. Not to mention, the amount of plays they ran were like... twice as much as RR even had.


So basically things will look better once DR can call the offense, execute the proper footwork/technique, and relax in the pocket. DG will also improve when he learns how to make his reads quicker... maybe hit the wide open players in the short field once in a while. 


April 16th, 2011 at 4:38 PM ^

Denard Robinson and Devin Gardner are not Steven Threet and Nick Sheridan.  They have the intellect, athletic ability, and arm strength to run the offense, and will improve greatly over the summer.  Both will be good enough to get the job done by this fall.  The transition will involve rough spots, but there is a good talent base on offense.  Overall, I would be a lot more worried about the defense than the offense.  They have a lot more to prove than the offense does.

 I predicted when Hoke was hired that Michigan probably won't gel until around the MSU game.  I see no reason to change my POV either way after today.  As for Denard, he will be fine.  He is level-headed and won't let today get him down.  Hopefully, the fanbase will take his example to heart.


April 16th, 2011 at 5:11 PM ^

Touche. Navarre did have that sweet, sweet lack of straight line speed you love in a QB/DE.

EDIT: To be serious for a moment, I actually think Navarre was a pretty great QB by the time he graduated. I think he's still unfairly maligned by a lot of the fanbase because of getting shoved into the line-up before he was ready.